Why a Better Economy Won’t Stop the Opioid Epidemic

January 12, 2018

(Vox) – Ruhm claimed that, more than the economy, the bigger driver of overdose deaths was “the broader drug environment” — meaning the expanded supply of opioid painkillers, heroin, and illicit fentanyl over the past decade and a half, which has made these drugs much more available and, therefore, easier to misuse and overdose on. To analyze this, Ruhm’s study makes an assumption: If economic (or social) factors were behind the rise in drug overdose deaths, then the availability of certain drugs would only change which drugs are linked to overdoses rather than who is overdosing.

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